Monday, July 1, 2013

Colonial Beach Blues Festival 2013

For the last two years I have regretted not being able to make it out to the Colonial Beach Blues Festival and was excited to be able to attend in its third great year! This terrific event takes place on the banks of the Potomac River in historic Colonial Beach, about an hour south of Washington, D.C., at the High Tides bar and restaurant and the Black Pearl Tiki Bar(205 Taylor Street, Colonial Beach, VA 22443; (804) 224-8433), and was held this year Friday-Sunday, June 21-23. And it was not just a great time, it was a great cause, as all proceeds from the event went to benefit the Organization for Autism Research.

The Colonial Beach Blues Festival was organized by my close friends Dominick and Charlene Salemi, proprietors of hip book and memorabilia store Populuxe Fredericksburg, and I was glad to have finally been able to avail myself of their generous offer to come check out their big event of the year. They had some fantastic acts lined up for this year, and fans of the Blues or even just live music in general were not disappointed. There were also numerous vendors selling everything from food to hip clothing and jewelry.

MC for the festival was everyone's favorite Jay Jenc of Jumpin' Jupiter (who rumor has it once killed a man, possibly in Memphis or Kansas City, in true Blues fashion!). He is shown here with festival organizer Charlene Salemi.

Friday's lineup featured three great acts, the Andy Poxon Band, Moonshine Society, and Anthony "Swamp Dog" Clark (shown in that order, below). All of them had a lot of energy and their own unique styles and put on a great show for the crowd.

Saturday was even bigger and a full seven bands took the stage for the hundreds of Blues fans that started showing up and claiming tables from well before the first group came on sometime after noon. The lineup kicked off with the entertaining Big Money Band and continued with Retro Deluxe, Clarence "The Blues Man" Turner, Jumpin' Jupiter, the Night Kings (with their fans from the Karb Kings can club in the foreground), Cathy Ponton King, and former heavy metal shredder Bobby Messano, who was accompanied by special guest Deanna Bogart on saxophone. People in the audience also enjoyed illusions by magician Vick (shown below in Steampunk/Goth top hat while chatting with festival organizer Dominick Salemi).

Sunday stayed strong with five great music combos, including Blues Flash (not shown), Piedmont Blues Plus accompanied by Fiddlin' "Big Al" Chidester (who drove 2,500 from Moscow, Idaho, to play at the Colonial Beach Blues Festival), Scott Ramminger & his CrawStickers (accompanied by Andy Poxon), Michael Tash & Bad Influence, and the ever-popular Nighthawks, which brought a crowd of their own fans.

Sponsors for this year's great event included NSWC Federal Credit Union, Community Bank of Tri-County, Tides Inn & Tides Inn Market, Karb Kings Va Car Club, High Tides on the Potomac, Populuxe, Brutarian Music & Magazine, and the Colonial Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Nearly a thousand people turned out during the course of the three-day event and it would be fair to say that fun was had by all. Shown here in order are one of the Nighthawk's cutest fans; their self-proclaimed oldest fans; a couple of chicks who came down for the Blues festival; a couple more chicks who came down for it; Toby and Paul, two of the tireless volunteers who helped out throughout the weekend; and people dancing on the sand to one of the bands on Friday night.

For more information about the Colonial Beach Blues Festival and how you can attend or participate in it in 2014, contact the Colonial Beach Blues Society via phone at (804) 214-0312 or (804) 214-0883, or via email at

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